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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Richard Bell

2009
Mike Chavez

synthetic polymer paint, screenprint and spray paint on canvas (support: 168.0 cm x 137.0 cm)
Image not available (NC)

Richard Bell (b. 1953), an artist of Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) and Anglo-Celtic heritage, has described himself as an 'inactivist who kicked the habit'. Self-taught, Bell exhibited in the first of many group and solo shows at the beginning of the 1990s. Often incorporating text, alluding to contemporary American and Australian art as well as Indigenous iconography, his works are aggressively propagandist, wantonly offensive, witty and often funny. Delusional grandeur (2002) reads, in part:

'"I wasn'tthereitwasn'tmeididn'tdoitwhatcanidoIAMNOTSORRY" ' Bell won the 2003 Telstra NATSIA award for his Scientia E Metaphysica (Bell's Theorem), featuring a phrase on which he has often riffed, 'Aboriginal Art: It's a White Thing'. On that occasion the artist courted, and won, controversy by wearing a t-shirt disparaging the sexual performance of Anglo-Saxon women. His video productions include uz vs them 2006 and Broken English 2009. Included in Australian Perspecta (1993) and (prominently) in Culture Warriors (2008), the self-proclaimed 'gangsta rapper of Australian art' is represented in the National Gallery of Australia and several state galleries.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2011
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Mike Chavez (age 40 in 2009)

Richard Bell (age 56 in 2009)

Subject professions

Activism

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Mike Chavez (1 portrait)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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